What is Shadow Work?

Infographic about Shadow work and opposite traits to help with self awareness

Today I’m going to explain to you exactly what shadow work is.

It is easy to understand how it may conjure up all kinds of pictures of scary, dark things because of the name Shadow Work.

Maybe shadowwork is a dark spiritual activity?

It may be a procedure that incorporates our personality’s more negative or more evil parts.

What does it mean to do shadow work then?

We were born as complete beings. But this completeness is short-lived since, as children, we are relatively dependant. Born into families which socialise us into an evolving society, it is a problem, since it causes us to learn that certain elements of ourselves are acceptable and others are not.

What is acceptable and unacceptable depends on your family’s opinion.   Our families do not accept those elements of ourselves which are considered as unacceptable, both positive and negative. For the sake of survival, therefore, being relatively dependent, we do all we can to reject and deny and conceal those elements that are disapproved of and exaggerate those that are approved of.

We distinguish ourselves from what we reject.   This splits the awareness and the subconscious in a person.

our initial act of autonomy is this urge to preserve oneself by separating into conscious and unconscious.

Years ago, Freud and the revolutionary psychologist Carl Jung realised that individuals have split, conscious awareness and subconscious. What this implies is that if you take a person, he has elements he knows about himself and that he knows nothing about himself. The English word “conscious” originally derived from the Latin conscius (con- “together” and scio “to know”) and also known as light.

You must see it to be conscious, just as something that is suddenly lit with light may be seen.   We can’t see anything when we are unconscious. We didn’t know that. In the same manner, we don’t know things in a dark environment. We can’t see it, since there is darkness.

So what Carl Jung began to do is to mention the things that a person does not know about or is ignorant of themselves as a shadow.   The human shadow is therefore any feature of a person who is not exposed to the light of his own awareness. It is because most of us prefer to ignore, repress, dismiss, and reject portions of ourselves that we feel are negative, so the human shadow comprises most things that were considered undesirable.

One of the Shadow’s major misunderstandings, though, is that the negatives are all in the shadow.   This couldn’t go beyond the truth. While we tend to restrain envy more than to undermine a specific gift, the human shadow frequently contains parts that are genuinely beneficial and denied or rejected. This applies in particular to those who fight with shame and poor self-esteem.

Here is a Shadow example of the good in a girl.

She knows who she is, she knows what she loves, she knows what she doesn’t like, and she definitely states her opinion, and the same thing she doesn’t like. However, let’s assume she came into a household that thought small girls needed to be seen and not heard. Girls should be nice, little children. They should not express their views. The family rejects her personality, which is confident and forceful. So she will also learn to deny this to herself, for survival in the social group.

In order to obtain affection, she denies this side of herself. To the extent that she is nice, silent and submissive as an adult. Her life is going to be terrible, for she has been banished. It’s split.   As an adult, she may work with someone to uncover what sentiments and beliefs or memories are part and parcel of her subconscious.

When you acquire that element of yourself, you’ll have the courage to build a life that feels good, that asserts yourself to others around you, and not to those around you that are submissive.

I shall also give you an illustration of how the negative ends in the shadow work of man.

Let’s just suppose you have a kid, and that kid is extremely furious. But they are born into a household in which fury is not alright. Thus, they are embarrassed by this anger, punished for it when they feel furious. You will attempt in whatever way you can to reject, disassociate yourself from this fury.

But he simply deliberately suppresses the fury. Getting pushed down into the subconscious. As an adult, this man probably doesn’t realise he’s angry at all. He won’t see himself clearly and can not perceive himself, as he rejected this element of himself.

So I truly really sense the fury in you when people tell you, “Man, you’re really furious.” He won’t be at least concerned about it. If he works with someone to explore his thoughts, beliefs, and memories, he might find he is genuinely furious.

And that rage has always come out and damaged the people around him in passive ways. His passive aggressive conduct will stop if he handles the anger directly and his connections are far more pleasant.

It does not disappear if we refuse, suppress the anger.   When we embrace and learn why we act the way we do then we can own the anger and use the energy for positive actions.

This is the actual reason why in our lives we do so much that we don’t realise why we do it. This is why we are still totally out of control. We are adults, and we know that we should be able to do things better, but we still fall into the same patterns, doing the same things.

It’s because of your shadow.

This is the number one reason why people fight shadow-work; to recognise whatever you subconsciously suppressed because you rejected or denied it. Then, for the purpose of being loved, you have to confront the anguish of having to divide yourself and losing some element of yourself.

Every time you conduct this shadow work, the initial sorrow of refusal occurs, which means that it gives us the identical sensation of dismissal that our parents and caregivers faced for the first time. And therefore, it gives us the impression that we’ll be in exile or punished again. It puts out our systems of survival and makes us feel that we are about to die. It’s not easy to achieve self-awareness!

Every person who has ever been social is divided into pieces by this process. It is divided into consciousness and subconsciousness.   This refusal is the genesis of self-hatred. And the vacuum that we feel is the remaining of those elements of ourselves that we have hidden, denied, abandoned, and lost. But the whole cosmos is on our side to help us regain completion.

Each cosmic process is directed towards development and growth. And so the broken self strives to be united.   We should be given every opportunity to examine what we have rejected, refused and rejected elements of ourselves.   We should be able to face our shadow selves every single chance. So how far we go or how much we think we might conceal, it doesn’t really matter how our shadow continues to chase us unless we’re prepared to do this job.

It really is all about Shadow Work. It is about making yourself deliberately aware of something which has been unconscious.   Now, Shadow Work has regrettably become a very contentious technique, particularly in the positive focus community.   Working in the shadows may be uncomfortable.

That’s right. Self awareness does not automatically occur to people who practise the avoidance of suffering, as you must stop attempting to escape the pain and vacuum inside you to become mindful of these elements, where the missing pieces should be, It is also important for a conscious and free existence.

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Question and Answers
Can shadow work be dangerous?
No, shadow work isn’t dangerous. … With shadow work, it’s finally time to unveil all this. But if you do it to explore yourself in a different way if you do this to connect with yourself, there is nothing wrong or dangerous; it’s just the opposite.
How do I find my shadow self?
Banish the shame: this is the first step toward unconditional self-acceptance. …
Write in a journal. …
Laugh at yourself.
Meditate with a focus on self-compassion and acceptance of your own humanness.
Is shadow work hard?
While shadow work isn’t easy, as it is often accompanied by the sting of past rejection, the healing of the split between the conscious self and the shadow self can be a life-changing process.
How long should you do shadow work?
As Jung is often quoted saying: Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. But we rarely have time to work with those emotions on the spot. At the end of the day, it’s helpful to take five or ten minutes to reflect on your interactions with others and your related reactions.
How do I accept my shadow self?
Make a list of 5 positive qualities that you see yourself as having (e.g., compassionate, generous, witty, etc.)
Look at each positive quality that you wrote down – describe its opposite (e.g., unfeeling, stingy, dull, etc.)
Self-awareness and self-reflection are a precursor to shadow work because they help us observe and evaluate feelings and emotional reactions without judgment
How do I embrace my dark side?
A key to embracing your dark side: Knowing that every dark side has a light side. When we accept the traits we might not love, that’s when that light side can shine through. “Every aspect of ourselves has a gift.2 Oct 2017
Who should not do shadow work?
Please note: Shadow Work exercises should not be undertaken if you struggle with low self-esteem. Exploring your demons will likely make you feel a million times worse about yourself and may spiral into self-hatred. Before doing Shadow Work, I strongly and emphatically encourage you to work on Self-Love.
The benefits of shadow work
Tapping into your intuition. …
Freeing yourself from the unconscious shadow. …
Empowering yourself and accepting your strengths. …
Taking a step toward self-actualization. …
Think about someone who triggers you. …
Examine your family tree. …
Confront your shadow.
How do you know if shadow work is working?
Other people’s behaviors don’t trigger you like they used to. …
You drop blame and denial. …
You judge other people (and yourself) less. …
You recognize that you have become part of someone’s shadow. …
You’re no longer afraid to be seen. …
Your life has become more peaceful.

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